Among The Twitters

I am on social media intermittently, but predictably. Most of my use is I post here (you probably know) several times a week, and I post on my Instagram a couple of times a week (and I use the Stories). I find more activity than that is distracting from what I am trying to do: write novels.

You may know I like to have a browse through what Twitter’s #writingcommunity hashtag users are saying on various matters. I am on Twitter, too. However, I use Twitter only occasionally because I came to realize that it demands more of my time than it warrants.

Not “social media” overall. My breakdown:

  1. My web site here: The center of my writing universe. It is my home online, where it all started in 2013, and I would have no readers without it. In fact, I cannot believe how many followers – and book buying readers – here have been with me for nearly ALL of those YEARS. (Don’t think I don’t notice.) I must be doing something right.
  2. Instagram: I was in some ways late to the Insta-game, but it has been an incredible surprise and through it I have reached lots of people – especially twenty-somethings – who don’t really read blogs and web sites and who want everything TAP LIKE TAP LIKE QUICK SCROLL QUICK SCROLL QUICK SCROLL TAP LIKE…
  3. Twitter: I find it is by now basically a way to waste time. I only keep the account there at all because writers are “supposed” to have Twitter accounts. As of this post, I have not tweeted anything in nearly a week.

Indeed based on what I see when I scroll #writingcommunity Twitter briefly now and then, I cannot believe how much some writers tweet; they seem to be on it all day. But it is a platform that requires “heavy use” in order to make much of an impact; and it is also, I think, in some ways “addictive,” providing instant “gratification” and a self-esteem “boost” when BAM! you tweet something that gets lots of likes and (positive) replies.

Yet most tweets do nothing, so for all that time and effort, what is achieved? It is unclear. For example, I saw one writer who has “30,000” (so-called) followers – about “29,700” more than me – and has lots of activity and replies and likes and so on, actually bemoan in a tweet recently that she had not sold a single book in April so far.

So when I see writers immersing themselves in it I find I can only think: “Get off Twitter. You should be actually working on your book…” Still here are some writers’ tweets I have bookmarked recently that I thought worth addressing here, and may help make for an at times “lighthearted” Saturday morning post. 🙂

I never had that “problem.” My mother died in 2015 before I finished my third novel, and never even knew about the books’ existence, and I did not want to her know; and my father still does not know about them and he will never know either. They were/are not intended for my parents, but for the public.

One thing my mother once did point out to me was that sex on screen and in books did not embarrass her.

“I’ve had sex,” she shrugged.

Incidentally, a parent is not a “beta reader.” See next…

Answered in order:

What Are Beta Readers?” They are, says Wikipedia:

“…usually a test reader of an unreleased work of literature or other writing (similar to beta testing in software), who gives feedback from the point of view of an average reader to the author. A beta reader is not a professional and can therefore provide advice and comments in the opinions of an average reader…”

Also, they are usually people you do not know personally, now often found via the net and on web sites, such as Fiverr.

And “Do You Need Them?”:

No. And they are NOT an “important part” of the process. In fact, I am adamantly opposed to the entire supposed “concept.” That is not to say that no one should read your book pre-publication, but rather that it should be read – as manuscripts were for 3,000 years until people on the 21st century net started inventing stupid terms like “beta reader” – in my opinion only by those you know and trust. Letting random strangers you “met” on the net influence how you write your book is, frankly, a bizarre idea.

My books are written ONLY by me, and are read pre-publication ONLY by my wife and by three or four others and an editor whose eyes and general takes I trust implicitlybecause it is MY novel and not an online group project in which “Sharon” from Cleveland or “Steve” from Edinburgh (and they may not even be Sharon from Cleveland or Steve from Edinburgh, for all I know) gets input.

Worse, increasingly “beta readers” look to be paid. And all this “beta reader” garbage has nervous new writers thinking they should pay. Any writer who PAYS a “beta reader” is especially being conned.

There, I saved you a tweet click above.

My question is: How do you not base characters on people you know?

Even if you don’t know the individual personally, you have subconsiously based everyone you have ever written on someone you “know”… because no character is ever invented out of thin air regardless of what some will have us believe. There is always “someone(s)” out there behind a character.

And tell them? Why would you do that?

The only one I have ever told is my uncle – who would have had to have been blind not to have seen “himself” in my first two novels he read shortly before his 2015 death.

I have never known anyone who said being a writer is “fun.”

Well, they bought it at least.

Assuming, of course, that they bought it.

As you may know, I see the word “Goodreads” and my head explodes.

I have nothing to do with it.

That is a first.

I don’t buy a book for the chapter dividers.

How many times is that question going to be asked on Twitter? (Here is the difference between them.)

I start from an outline of what I think will happen generally overall – a couple of bullet-pointed pages.

Then when I am actually writing all of what happens, I jump all over the place.

Mine has been called worse.

Don’t worry about it.

Being an author is to offer yourself up to be perpetually “hazed.” You have to learn to shrug it off. There will ALWAYS be those who will despise your books for reasons entirely all their own… and they have every right not to like them.

It does include references to the American and the French Revolutions

…so, sure, my books are full of myths.

Those are shapeshifters?

Ha! Those are amateurs.

Have you ever tried to write Frenchwomen?

An interesting question. Here I am the other morning on Instagram:

Do I look stressed? LOL!

If authoring is NOT “supposed” to be competitive and writers are not “supposed” to be competitive and everyone is “supposed” to lift everyone else up and is “supposed” to be equally supportive of everyone else… why are there COMPETITIVE writing contests in which SOMEONE(S) WIN and most LOSE?


Speaking of “equally,” and also of Instagram, there is “the American way,” and the ways that others live.

For a laugh, this Russian immigrant comedian apparently now living in the US demonstrates one worldview difference. First, she is a cap and hoodie wearing stereotype young “American mom” (even attempting a “bland” American accent that is actually very good and on point), and then she is a young “Russian mom” (if you can, turn the volume up because hearing her talking is half the fun) both instructing each child about how to behave with the other kids on the playground…

Hope you have a good weekend, wherever you are – including even you “Russian mom-disparaged” “vegan bloggers” out there. 😉